Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
4.5
Historic SitesAncient RuinsPoints of Interest & LandmarksHistoric Walking AreasArchitectural Buildings
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Duration: More than 3 hours
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Admission tickets
from $49.24
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  • Bea
    Sydney, Australia2,434 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A lot of ruins please bring your imagination
    I love ancient ruins but it was a very hot today and the sun was blaring suggest go first thing or late afternoon. You really have to imagine as there are no drawings as to how the buildings looked. There are a few temples on site so please ensure you are dressed appropriately or bring something to cover yourself when entering the temples. Quite an expensive entry fee but goes towards the maintenance of the grounds, we saw many monkeys and stray dogs. I would love to see some future restoration of the sites
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written August 16, 2023
  • danny b
    Melbourne, Australia10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonder of the world
    In a trip full of highlights, Polonnaruwa was probably our favourite place in Sri Lanka. We hired bikes (1500 rupees each - probably could have got the cheaper) and spent four wonderful hours on paved roads, cycling through a true wonder of the world. I've been to the Angkor temples, but found this a far more enjoyable experience because of the relatively compact layout, lack of crowds and fewer hassling touts and gift sellers. Put it on your bucket list before the rest of the world gets there. As someone who has has been privileged to travel a fair bit, this place put the word "wow" back in my vocabulary.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 30, 2023
  • Paul H
    35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great restaurant on the way to Polonnaruwa 😋
    Polonnaruwa is not to be missed. An ancient city spread over a huge area. It was hot when we visited, take a hat, sun cream and plenty of water. We stopped at Waandora Gedara for lunch. It’s on the Habarana road at the top of the big lake. A buffet of 22 curries including raw examples of the veg each one is made from. It’s set up for tourists but delivers a delicious authentic Sri Lankan feast.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 21, 2023
  • VGriet
    Leuven, Belgium336 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must visit
    You get tickets at the museum before you van enter any of the sites. Very rich history here and variety of different type of buildings to see: Old Palace ruins, stupas, budha statues, Old monastery with hospital. And a nice stroll as well at some of the sites. It does get hot between the stone buildings, so be prepared. On the other hand, to enter most you must take of hat, take if shoes and be covered to below the knee- so take that in mind.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 4, 2023
  • JulieS23
    20 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A cultural history lesson.
    The best way to visit is with a private guide and car. There are a few sites to visit. A fascinating historical site of immense architectural achievement. Layer this with other ancient sites across the world and you have an amazing cross cultural view of the way civilisations emerged.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 10, 2023
  • Christina
    43 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Perfekt!
    Really great! Nice to ride the bike aorund the park, its very big! A little bit annoying with all the people trying to sell stuff everywhere, not accepting a no. But apart from that, its really amazing.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 14, 2023
  • Oamaruvian
    Oamaru, New Zealand336 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fascinating historical day out
    We spent the day vising the vast network of ruins in this park. It is quite expensive at $29 US/person but you get a lot for your money, starting with the museum. Be aware, many are classified as culturally sensitive, so shoes off and shoulders and knees covered before you enter. Best to wear attire that is easy to slip on and off or light clothing. Take an umbrella if it is raining as there is very little shelter. It is wise not to take food as the monkeys will cause you problems. To get a full understanding of the history, it is worth hiring a guide, which are readily available at the ticket office. Enjoy you day.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 1, 2024
  • Dr_Kippers
    52 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Historical Sri Lanka
    We had planned to hire bikes and cycle round the ruins as they're spead out over a large area. However, there was torrential rain so we travelled between sites by car. Definitely worth buying a guidebook or read about the site before going to get most out of your visit. The Buddist temples/holy sites require people to cover their legs (knees covered) and take off shoes so sandals are best (particularly when it's raining).
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 9, 2024
  • VThallur
    Chennai (Madras), India86 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Definitely a must visit... if you are a history buff.
    Awestruck by this ancient capital city ruins. Spread over a large area, it gives you an idea of the scale and grandeur it dispensed in it's heyday. Can spend an entire day walking around. It's a photographer's delight. If you are wearing shorts & intend to enter the interiors of temple ruins ( a couple of them), remember to carry a wraparound cloth. However, you are free to wear shorts and footwear if you are not entering the temple interiors and just catching glimpses from the outside (like I did, 'coz I was wearing shorts & didn't have a wrap).
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written January 10, 2024
  • Nik
    Singapore, Singapore37 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    HistoricalGems -Polonnaruwa
    Polonnaruwa, a mesmerizing step back in time! The ancient city's well-preserved ruins left me in awe. From the majestic Gal Vihara to the royal palace, every step felt like a journey through history. The ambiance is serene, and the guides share fascinating insights. USD 25 for entrance ticket per person. And 50% off for children. A must-visit for history enthusiasts and those seeking a unique cultural experience. Truly a gem in Sri Lanka! Highly recommended to travelers.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written February 4, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,647 reviews
Excellent
1,464
Very good
910
Average
204
Poor
51
Terrible
18

Karen C
50 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
Recommended as a must see by others who have travelled to Sir Lanka. Be prepared all entrance fees are expected to be paid in Sri Lankan Rupees 4550 pp or US $25.00. Credit card was not accepted. The ruins are spread over several areas and we were glad we had a private driver/tour guide to show up the way. This is one of the areas where an audio tour would have been helpful for tourists to understand the significance of each section as the signage on the ruins did not match up with the map/key provided at the first call in the Museum/office.
Be aware the Monkeys on these sites are well use to Travelers and are very bold. If you stop to take a photo of them they will quickly congregate around you
Written March 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Terry M
Hamilton, Canada4,897 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Polonnawura richly deserves its status as a World Heritage Site. It can be visited over the course of a day. While a ruin, there are enough tantalizing remains to interest any traveler. The area ruled Sri Lanka from the 11th through 13th centuries. Several buildings here likely held the Tooth Relic. There are other unique structures like the circular Vatadage and the oddly shaped Satmahal Prasada, the purpose of the latter unclear. Places like the Lankatilaka Vihara, stretching to the heavens, will catch any photographer's eye. The sublime sculptures at Gal Vihara represent the best of Sinhalese craftsmanship, the artistry of the Kumara Pokuna, the royal baths, not far behind. It is a more impressive site overall than Anuradhapura.
Written February 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

851gill
Swanage, UK550 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
A must do day out whilst in this region. Really interesting and awe inspiring. Few things to try to do. Visit the museum first which will make the whole place more understandable. If you want to book a guide it is worthwhile but if you struggle with hearing it may be better not to as they don’t all speak good English. Take a scarf for the sights require ladies to cover legs and shoulders. Wear shoes you can slip on or off as you need to remove them to go up close. There is a number of pedlars at every site. Unless you want to buy anything just say No Thank You. You can go round by car or hire a bike depending on your fitness and heat tolerance level. The toilets for foreigners are very clean and good. Take some small change to tip the attendants. A worthwhile and enjoyable day and leaves you in wonder and awe on how it must of look when in its full glory.
Written February 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sam collin
London, UK3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
we visited polonnaruwa site in the morning time.
our driver reccomended us to hire a bicycles it was great idea but not in the afternoon.
the ruines are old and beautifull.
best place in the site was three budda statues carved from the rock
Written March 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tiana L
Odense, Denmark4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
An amazing site! and i believe this is one of the must-see places in Sri Lanka, highly recommended for those who like to explore history or architecture. And also definitely you need a guide, Mr Kaan was our guide throughout the tour and he has very good knowledge about the history of Sri Lanka. The information he gave we’re fantastic!

We started our visit at the archaeological museum and you can learn some interesting facts about the history from the archaeological museum before you go to the ruins. We started early morning 8.00 am and leave 1.30pm, we spent there at more than 5 hours.
Written February 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danycassio
Stockholm, Sweden6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
The site is on a big area and is recommended to have a tuk tuk driver or to rent a bike in order to explore the whole area.
Very interesting ruins and I am positively impressed how everything is well maintained and clean, which is a sign that the money of the ticket goes into the preservation, as it should.
The museum is also well made and contains some artifacts found on the site.
Definitely worth a visit!
Written January 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Oamaruvian
Oamaru, New Zealand336 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
We spent the day vising the vast network of ruins in this park. It is quite expensive at $29 US/person but you get a lot for your money, starting with the museum. Be aware, many are classified as culturally sensitive, so shoes off and shoulders and knees covered before you enter. Best to wear attire that is easy to slip on and off or light clothing. Take an umbrella if it is raining as there is very little shelter. It is wise not to take food as the monkeys will cause you problems. To get a full understanding of the history, it is worth hiring a guide, which are readily available at the ticket office. Enjoy you day.
Written January 1, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

E.Winter
London, UK410 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Couples
We visited the 3 points of attraction in the area. It took around 2hs ( max) by car, and it was fairly pleasant.

You defiantly need a guide to get a better understanding of the area and its importance to Buddhist.

It doesn't feel as grand as some of the other sites we have visited and here I feel like you really someone to guide you otherwise it feels like its just ruins and a few Buddha statues
Written February 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ilovemyjollies
399 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Couples
This ancient village is on a massive scale so you'll need transport to get around each location.

Some if the ruins felt like being in The Jungle Book film.

You'll need around 3-4 hours to see all of the ruins and I would recommend getting there early to avoid the heat and humidity
Written February 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JR_Essex
Chelmsford, UK548 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We visited the ancient city of Polonnaruwa as part of our tour of Sri Lanka. There is a small museum you can visit first, which gives an overview before you actually enter the complex, worth a visit but hot and stuffy. The complex itself is vast and would recommend the use of a guide if you want to get a good understanding of the ancient city.
A visit here is an essential part of any visit to Sri Lanka
Written March 5, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Polonnaruwa

Frequently Asked Questions about Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $49.24, while a popular guided tour starts around $5.50 per person.

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